Let us all make the hospitality industry a true champion of sustainability

24 April 2015
Let us all make the hospitality industry a true champion of sustainability

The long-term benefits of investing in energy-saving facilities make it worthwhile, says Simon Ewins, chief operating officer of the hub hotel

The concept of the eco hotel is not new. Understandably, two of the main focuses for hotels are keeping the cost of rooms low and the quality of the experience high. While both remain keystones of successful hotes, it is increasingly becoming important to weave sustainability into the
fabric of a hotel and to engage the customer in the journey to become a greener business.

Across every sector businesses are very aware of the opportunities for improvement, following feedback from Government, industry bodies, investors and customers to reduce waste, energy and carbon, and the hospitality industry is no different.

The nature of many hotels is to cater for large numbers of guests and the sheer volume of lighting, heating and water required to make comfortable stays for those guests can be a challenge for managers to find cost-efficient ways of meeting expectations. The key is getting the balance right, so there's no trade-off between sustainability, quality and cost.

There is a perception that installing sustainable equipment is expensive, and this can be true in the short term. Innovative energy-saving equipment can be a significant capital injection, but the long-term financial gains and sustainability benefits make it worthwhile, with savings made from
reduced energy usage often claimed back relatively quickly. Not only do you make financial returns in the long run, but you can also convert your own waste into energy.

Increasingly sustainability is becoming a decision-making factor for consumers who want to spend money with responsible companies they can trust. For example, last year TripAdvisor launched its GreenLeaders initiative to help guests search for sustainable stays. This highlights one of the reasons why it's very important that hotels invest in their infrastructure and equipment now to not only reduce their spend on energy and protect the environment, but also to ensure their accommodation is fit for changing consumer demands.

At Whitbread we've taken the decision to create sustained and achievable targets for reductions in water, carbon and waste across our property portfolio, and we take our commitments seriously.

Last year we launched our new hub hotel by Premier Inn in Covent Garden, which has been designed and built with sustainability and efficiencies in mind. We're really proud of the hotel and the work that went into the building. It recently received the accolade of an ‘Outstanding' BREEAM

At Whitbread we support and are keen to learn from other sectors and hotel businesses that are making great strides in this area, because it will only be through collective action that we can truly protect the planet. We would encourage other hoteliers to look at the improvements that can be
made throughout their properties.

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